Per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), taking your eyes off the road for just 5 seconds — how long it takes to send the average text message — at 55 miles per hour is the same as “driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.” Needless to say, serious and even fatal car accidents can occur during these few seconds.
While many drivers may have heard this oft-cited fact from the NHTSA at some point, such as when texting and driving was banned, there are many other forms of distracted driving. What’s more, many drivers have engaged in this risky behavior without realizing it. For these reasons, and in honor of Distracted Driving Awareness Month this April, Ashcraft & Gerel is helping raise public awareness of distracted driving, what it is, and its risks.
What Is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is not synonymous with “texting and driving.” There are many other activities that take one’s attention away from the road for about five seconds or more, such as:
- Drinking coffee
- Changing the music
- Grooming and applying makeup
- Looking at a navigation app or GPS
- Adjusting the heating and air conditioning controls
- Talking to passengers
- Talking on the phone, even with a hands-free device
Simply put, distracted driving is doing anything behind the wheel that is not specifically related to driving and that takes your attention off the road.
Distracted Driving Statistics
According to the NHTSA, 3,142 United States residents were killed in 2019 in accidents in which distracted driving played a role. In addition, over 400,000 people were injured in 2018, per estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Driver distraction is, therefore, a huge problem from coast to coast. The good news is that even one person can make a major difference by choosing to drive safely and to not engage in distracted driving.
Advocating Against Distracted Driving
On the road, other drivers are obligated to conduct themselves with regard for the safety of others, just as you are obligated to do. Engaging in distracted driving is a violation of this obligation. Thus, if you were injured by a distracted driver, you may qualify to file a lawsuit against them.
For over 65 years, our attorneys at Ashcraft & Gerel have fought for the rights of injured residents of Washington, D.C., Virginia, and Maryland against negligent drivers and their insurance companies. Collectively, we have recovered more than $1 billion for our clients in personal injury cases. Give yourself an advantage in court — let us help you in your pursuit of justice.
For a free consultation with an Ashcraft & Gerel lawyer, call (800) 674-9725 or fill out an online form today.